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Member Since 2010

  • 6 reviews
  • 22 ratings
  • 602 titles in library
  • 42 purchased in 2015

  • Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Tom Holland
    • Narrated By Steven Crossley

    The Roman Republic was the most remarkable state in history. What began as a small community of peasants camped among marshes and hills ended up ruling the known world. Rubicon paints a vivid portrait of the Republic at the climax of its greatness - the same greatness which would herald the catastrophe of its fall. It is a story of incomparable drama.

    Emily says: "Connects the Dots and Fills In the Gaps"
    "Connects the Dots and Fills In the Gaps"
    Any additional comments?

    At one point in its history, Rome was ruled by toga wearing citizen soldiers who were elected by people so afraid of kings that the term of office was only one year. At another point in history, Rome was ruled by decadent and insane emperors who commanded their subjects to worship them as gods. This book explains how and why such a huge change could take place. The book has lively descriptions of the actions of the key players and does a great job in expanding on the motives and consequences of their choices. Highlights include Publius Clodius crashing a female only party in drag, Crassus’ severed head being used as a stage prop by Rome’s enemies in Parthia, Julius Caesar’s exciting campaign in Gaul, Cicero’s sarcastic court case speeches, and tales of grisly battles waged by Pompey Magnus a/k/a “the teenage butcher.” Both the writing organization and narrative style are excellent and I was enthralled. If you only could read one book about Rome, this is a good choice.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Classical Mythology: The Romans

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By Peter Meineck

    Rome grew from a tiny community of small hill villages near the River Tiber in central Italy to one of the most powerful empires the world has seen. The Romans themselves believed that their great city was founded in the middle of the eighth century BCE. By the middle of the second century CE, Rome had a population of 1.5 million; Alexandria, in Egypt, 500,000; and Londinium, in Briton, 30,000.

    Pierre Gauthier says: "Very Worthwhile!"
    "Early Roman History Through Its Foundation Myths"
    Any additional comments?

    The course focuses on early Rome's legendary heroes and founders. It is not stories about the Roman versions of the 12 Olympians.

    This course would be a good supplement for anyone interested in Rome's earliest days, as reported by the ancient historian Livy. It also might be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about the heroes like Brutus, Romulus, Aeneas and the Trojan War Settlers, Cincinnatus and Coriolanus, that are name-checked by Senators during the Roman Republic.

    Here's the table of contents:
    Lecture 1 Mythological Rome
    Lecture 2 The Making of Myth: How the Romans Recorded Their Mythology
    Lecture 3 Greek Myths and the Romans: Cacus, Hercules, and the Greeks in Italy
    Lecture 4 Arcadian Fantasies: The Fathers of the Founders
    Lecture 5 Trojan Ancestors: The Myth of Aeneas
    Lecture 6 Romulus and Remus
    Lecture 7 The Seven Kings of Rome
    Lecture 8 Etruscan Kings in Rome: Myth or History?
    Lecture 9 Myths of the Republic
    Lecture 10 Myths of Roman Expansion
    Lecture 11 Virgil and The Aeneid (Part One)
    Lecture 12 The Aeneid (Part Two)
    Lecture 13 Ovid
    Lecture 14 The Survival of Classical Myth

    This series of lectures is best for someone who already knows a little bit about Roman mythology and/or early Roman history, and wants to take the next step. Since such a small amount of early Roman history has survived, this course looks for that information in Rome's myths and cultural tradition.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Joy of Ancient History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Professor Bob Brier, Professor Craig G. Benjamin, and others

    For years, The Great Courses has taken lifelong learners on stirring explorations of our ancient roots; ones that bring you face to face with what history means, and how we use it to understand both the past and the present. So where's the best place to start? Right here with this eclectic and insightful collection of 36 lectures curated from our most popular ancient history courses.

    Emily says: "Ancient World Greatest Hits Playlist"
    "Ancient World Greatest Hits Playlist"
    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrators are professors speaking directly to the listener so their personalities and enthusiasm for the topics really comes through. No dry voice reading in monotone here.

    Any additional comments?

    This course is like a greatest hits playlist of topics in ancient history, or an ancient world highlight reel. This isn't the "deep cuts" so it is a good place to start if you like ancient history movies or documentary films. It covers the high points, important points and the popular points. These lectures don't include endless background information or things interesting only to academics. These lectures focus on aspects of the ancient world that are still relevant and interesting to the modern world.

    Here's the table of contents:
    1 Lessons of the Peloponnesian War
    2 Parthenon and Acropolis
    3 Heroes at Thermopylae
    4 On Athenian Tragedy
    5 The Parable of the Cave
    6 Famous Greeks—Solon
    7 Aristotle's View of the Natural World
    8 The Battles of Megiddo and Kadesh
    9 Greco-Roman Views on Death—and Beyond
    10 Gaius Julius Caesar
    11 Early Germanic Europe
    12 Gladiatorial Games
    13 Dining in Imperial and Republican Rome
    14 The (Mad) Emperor Caligula
    15 Being a Rich Roman
    16 The Mystery Cults
    17 Herodotus’s Account of Egypt
    18 The Great Pyramid of Giza
    19 Being an Egyptian Worker
    20 Cleopatra—The Last Pharaoh
    21 What Do the Mayan Glyphs Say?
    22 The Amazon—Civilization Lost in the Jungle
    23 Chalice of Blood in Ancient Peru
    24 Attila the Hun—Scourge of God
    25 Mesopotamian Creation Stories
    26 The Empire of Hammurabi
    27 The Epic of Gilgamesh
    28 The Chariot Revolution
    29 The Assyrian War Machine
    30 The Art and Architecture of Power
    31 Cyrus, Xenophon, and the Ten Thousand
    32 Opening the First Dead Sea Scroll
    33 Jesus in His Context
    34 The Legend of Troy
    35 The Qin and the First Emperor of China
    36 Alexander Invades India

    56 of 56 people found this review helpful
  • 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Eric H. Cline
    • Narrated By Andy Caploe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh’s army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians.

    Jacobus says: "The next "Best Popular Book on Archaeology" award?"
    "But it was all going so well....."
    What did you like best about this story?

    What caused the almost simultaneous falls of so many great Bronze Age civilizations? The Minoans, the Hittites, the Trojans, the Babylonians and the Mycenaean Greeks all disappear around 1200 BC. What caused the decline and 2-step-back struggle of surviving Bronze Age civilizations in the Levant and Egypt? Who were these Sea Peoples which the ancient worlds' chroniclers wrote about with such dread?

    What was going on?
    Why did the world go through an Ancient Dark Age in 1177 BC?

    Finally a comprehensive exploration of the current scholarship relating to what in the world was going on in the world around 1200 BC. Eric H. Cline presents the complicated history of the time through a cross-discipline survey of ancient literature, geology, archaeology, biblical scholarship, military accounts and diplomatic correspondence in a way that's well organized and easy to understand.

    Great for anyone interested in ancient world history.

    What does Andy Caploe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrator gives some strange accents when reading ancient diplomatic letters. The ancient documents have enough emotional tone on their face and the narrator's performance in these instances detracts from the poignancy.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
    "Vast History of Ancient Egypt Made Manageable"
    What did you love best about The History of Ancient Egypt?

    I used to think that the history of Ancient Egypt was as overwhelming and daunting as a trek across the desert. Professor Brier takes the listener step by step and breaks it down into manageable sections, like a traveler going from oasis to oasis, with time for review and reflection between segments. He also tells some great campfire stories about colorful Egyptologists in history, his own experiences in Egypt, and his work on creating a modern mummy.

    What other book might you compare The History of Ancient Egypt to and why?

    Bob Brier does a lot of television documentaries, and he's just the same in his lectures. He gives his own theories about historical events, as well as theories by others, and lets the listener decide.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed his lectures about Egyptians referenced in the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament. Specifically, Joseph and Moses.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The lecture about how he created a modern mummy was kind of gross, but so interesting that I listened to it more than once!

    Any additional comments?

    I'm not sure if this is because he's from New York, but he talks about the ancient Egyptians in the way someone would talk about people in their neighborhood or their extended family. For example, he called Pharaoh Snefru a great builder, but also a bit of a nerd. He loves the Ancient Egyptians so much that he tries to present as complete portrait as he can: the good, the bad, and the quirky.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses, Robert Garland
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland

    Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

    Mark says: "Tantalizing time trip"
    "Everyday People and Real Life in the Ancient World"
    Where does The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is in my top 5 audiobooks.

    What other book might you compare The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World to and why?

    Tom Holland - RubiconBarbara Mertz - Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient EgyptJennifer Tobin - The Modern Scholar: Seven Wonders of the Ancient WorldStephen P. Kershaw - A Brief History of the Greek Myths Adrienne Mayor - Greek Fire, Poison Arrows, & Scorpion Bombs

    All are interesting topics by enthusiastic experts.

    What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

    His enthusiasm came through in his narration. I loved how he made the history so personal. He gets listeners to identify with ancient people by asking the listeners to imagine themselves in the ancient world. He made it easy to relate to people from over 3000 years ago.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was impressed by his analysis of injury and illness in the ancient world, and their effects on ancient people. He brought home the horrors of a world without antibiotics, without pain medication, without hygeine and sanitation, and without basic medical knowledge and care. His account of what the ancients thought about disability and what happened to the old, the ill or the disabled shouldn't have been shocking, but it was.

    Any additional comments?

    When listening to this, I kind of felt like a time traveler.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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